Truck drivers impaired by drugs are a problem in the United States. So much so that they’ve captured the attention of the federal agency responsible for investigating our country’s catastrophic transportation accidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board recently published its 2016 “Most Wanted List” – an annual compilation of what it sees are the nation’s critical air, railway, and roadway safety issues. Drivers on drugs made this year’s list.
The NTSB argues that, while drunken driving causes one-third of the country’s deaths in motor vehicle accidents, drivers under the influence of drugs, either legal or illegal, need to be seriously addressed. For obvious reasons, drivers who are operating a rig weighing thousands of pounds or carrying hazardous material while drug impaired are of heightened concern.
Truck Driver Drug Screening
Recently passed federal legislation allows for drug screening of truck drivers using hair samples. Advocates say that hair testing is much more effective in detecting drug use than other methods. It’s expected to be a year until this rule is implemented.
But many truck drivers currently are subject to random drug and alcohol testing. The NTSB has proposed a rule that requires truck and bus companies to submit information on drivers who failed the testing to a federal database. Employers would also be required to report their drivers’ accidents while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Database of Dangerous Truck Drivers
The database will make important information available to all employers so that they can better screen for those truck drivers more likely to cause accidents. The database also will include information on follow-up drug and alcohol tests for truck drivers. The rule is scheduled to be adopted later in 2016.
Even when the database of at-risk truck drivers is published, there’s no guarantee that trucking companies will always do the responsible thing. Some may ignore the evidence and put dangerous truckers on the road in order to meet financial demands.
If you were seriously injured or had a family member killed in a crash with a tractor-trailer, you may want to consult with an attorney experienced in trucking accident investigations, who can identify all negligent parties and pursue just compensation on your behalf.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.